Survivor: Cook Islands - Advice for the Remaining 18by Jeffrey Clinard -- 09/25/2006
After watching the second episode of Survivor: Cook Islands, I began to wonder if I had dreamed or hallucinated the entire thing. Aitu threw strategy out the window when it came to the challenge, and the Tribal Council was so increasingly bizarre I began wondering if somebody had slipped something into my diet soda.
Letís start with the idea of throwing a challenge. There are a few cases where it makes sense, such as if a merge is looming and the tribe has somebody ready to jump ship. The trouble is, nobody can really be sure when a merge or shuffle will occur, so tribes can get stuck with a real loss piled on top of their thrown challenge. It happened in Survivor: Pearl Islands where Drake threw a challenge and suffered for it.
Throwing individual challenges makes more sense, particularly when the consequences of winning are worse than the rewards gained by a victory. It occurs with some regularity in the season-specific variation on the Survivor: Marquesas coconut challenge. A player can win the battle but lose the war if they give away too much information in the challenge.
The decision by Aitu to throw the challenge didnít qualify as a good idea on any front. Maybe they think they still have a strong tribe with the four remaining players, but those four can quickly go down to three if they lose another challenge, or if somebody rolls their ankle on a coconut or something. Another trip to Tribal Council might force battle lines, which hurts everybody. Besides, original tribes tend to stick together somewhat after shuffles, and being outnumbered cannot help the position of the four remaining Aitu members. No matter what any given person brings to the table in terms of challenges or camp life, the most important thing a Survivor brings to the table is a vote. Virtually everything else in the game is meaningless compared to the value of a vote.
The challenge itself lent itself well to being thrown, as tribes could make choices at various points as to their best strategy. Aitu wasted time by rereading the story first, then, according to reports, Billy was pulled down from untying a clue, and Ozzy rocked the rope bridge to cause Billy to lose his balance. Well, Aitu did a great job of throwing the challenge, but they should have considered it trading two tarps for a few more days with Billy. If they had played to win, there is no guarantee theyíd have taken home two tarps, or even managed to beat out Hiki, but as it stood, they gave aid and comfort to all their enemies, with Yul in particular being a huge winner due to the results of his visit to Exile Island.
Yes, Yul now has hidden immunity. I think we can safely assume that the strategy of sending a strong guy to Exile Island isnít the best one in the world. Both Terry and Yul promptly dug up the hidden immunity idols, which will protect them, most likely during the jury selection phase of the game. Holding hidden immunity provides a psychological barrier to voting off a player, particularly if the ricochet vote rule is in effect. It is going to be tricky to get rid of Yul now that heís got the hidden immunity talisman in his back pocket.
Then, of course, there was Tribal Council. There were times when I think Jeff Probst wanted to whack the tribe members on the head with his torch snuffer. Besides admitting they threw a challenge, Billy and J.P talked over each other, then out from left field Billy said his million-dollar prize was Candice. Few things in Survivor have flustered Jeff Probst more than that statement, which he had to clarify simply because he couldnít believe what he was hearing.
Still, with lots of game and Survivors left, everybody needs to adjust to the changing situation and figure out the right moves to make to progress in the game. Itís advice for the remaining 18.
Raro: Your tribe continues to be the good news / bad news kind of tribe. The bad news is your camp life situation is pathetic. The relative low age is probably part of the reason, but even the Little Rascals could have built a better clubhouse in six days than the mess of sticks and leaves youíve put together. On the other hand, you did a great job in the challenge battling Puka to a draw for first place and earning two tarps Ė something that will greatly improve your shelter. Still, your tribe is cracking between the workers and the lazies... and Iím afraid the lazies are winning.
Jonathan: I feel for you. I agree with your belief that your shelter should be improved with flooring to keep you from sleeping in the mud when it rains. However, as long as nobody else wants to do it, youíre better of getting a tan or something with the others. In a game like Survivor, itís often better to be a conformist than to be right.
Jessica (Flicka): It seems that no matter what way you turn, youíve ending up making things worse for yourself. Losing the chickens put you in hock with the tribe, and you seem to be siding with Jonathan on the whole building the shelter thing. While that is what your tribe should be doing, your short-term problem is shifting the target to another player. In other words, let Jonathan be the misfit who is building the shelter while you hang out with the other young people of your tribe. It can save you in the short run.
Parvati: So far, youíve fit in well with your tribe, but Iíd be very careful about trying to couple up with Adam at this point. You are better off associating with them but letting them get tagged with the unbreakable pair stigma. As long as Jonathan is off working and Jessica has lost the chickens, you are probably safe, and should play it that way for now.
Adam: I donít think you are treating the survival situation seriously, but youíre making good inroads in the social end of things. You seem to be bonding quite well with the others, and youíll probably have enough votes to keep yourself around if you go to Tribal Council. It was also wise to stay out of the challenge; it didnít require the kind of raw physical strength that might be your best advantage, and if your tribe lost, it wouldnít have reflected on you.
Candice: It seems ironic that most of the focus on you was at a Tribal Council you werenít at and werenít witness to. In your own tribe, youíre in a good position. If you ever get shuffled up with some of the Aitu tribe, they are probably going to tell you a story that you might find hard to believe. Just roll your eyes Ė even if you do like Billy, heís out of the game and in no position to help you. On your own tribe, you did a good thing in trying to defuse the situation with Adam and Jonathan. This isnít because of those two in particular, but because after a shuffle Adam might end up in the same situation with other players... and in a situation where he doesnít have the votes to stay.
Puka: Your tribe is the one to be envied right now. Youíve won two challenges in a row (counting the draw with Raro), and your tribe is catching chickens two or three at a time. Your left-right timing crossing the rope bridge showed both teamwork and intelligent strategy. Even if you do go to Tribal Council, most of you are probably safe as you have a resident misfit to get rid of in Cai Boi. So far, your tribe is looking to be the one to beat.
Yul: I knew there was a reason I picked you to win. Simply put, you are fitting in well with your tribe, and are starting to form the connections that will be the basis of your political base. Aitu did you a huge favor by sending you to Exile Island where you promptly solved the puzzle and dug up hidden immunity. Keep it hidden for now. There is no reason to let anybody know you have it at this time. Later that will change.
Becky: You did a good thing in forging a connection with Yul. This is the prep work needed to be wired into political structures in the game, and Yul is looking strong at this point. Your tribe looks strong, and as long as Cai Boi is around, you are probably safe from the vote. So far, so good.
Jenny: Well, for all his weirdness, I guess it looks like youíre buying Cai Boiís home remedy for headaches... and sporting a nice red mark above your nose. However, I think it is a fair trade. You elected to stay out of the challenge, but with the victory of your tribe, youíre still a winner. Youíll need to monitor the tribe and see if people arenít putting more faith in Cai Boi. The winds might change at your tribe to where he might be more valuable, but if your tribe keeps dominating challenges, you might avoid Tribal Council completely.
Brad: So far, your tribe is looking good, working together, and getting along for the most part. Youíve tried to be diplomatic with Cai Boi, but since that isnít working, you might just be better off letting him self-destruct on his own. You are not likely to change him, but you can use his natural personality against him.
Cai Boi: You havenít seemed to learn that the other tribe members are not comfortable with Asian jokes, and, even worse, youíve been telling them when they are trying to sleep. Thatís not a good combination. On the plus side, your headache remedy has worked on another player, which might make the skepticism of the others fade a bit. Still, your best bet is to keep the tribe strong in challenges and avoid Tribal Council. If you can hold out till a shuffle or merge of the tribes, your stock is going to go up dramatically.
Hiki: Iím glad your tribe has gotten fire and got on the scoreboard by claiming a third-place finish over the Aitu tribe. It certainly boosted morale. Still, the problem remains Ė Aitu and Puka are living well off the land, Raro is starting to perform better in the challenges, and Aitu threw the challenge. Thatís not to say that they could have beaten if you they were playing to win, but right now you are looking to be the weakest of the four tribes.
Nate: Youíve bought yourself some more time, but you are still looking to be the odd man out if you return to Tribal Council. You need to find yourself a niche where your value to Rebecca and Sundra make them want to keep you over Stephannie. Unfortunately, fire wasnít it Ė Rebecca got that started. Itís probably going to have to be food. Fish or catch chickens and youíll have your selling point.
Stephannie: Your position mirrors Nate to some extent; there is a power couple in Sundra and Rebecca, and if you return to Tribal Council, one of you is probably going to go. Youíll need to figure out the right angle to make yourself more valuable to them than Nate, be it in challenges or in camp life. It might also involve playing the gender card if you have to. Good luck.
Rebecca: Great job in making fire! Youíve shown your value to the tribe, and along with Sundra can decide who stays if Hiki goes back to Tribal Council. Keep a close eye on both Stephannie and Nate over the next few days and decide which is better to keep for challenges and camp life. You have a secure position for now.
Sundra: Like Rebecca, you have an ally and two people who can be cut if you return to Tribal Council. Itís going to be quite important to decide which one goes if you take another trip to Tribal Council. Overall I think you should keep Nate, but that is a matter you need to take into consideration with all the facts in play.
Aitu: I keep wondering how such a smart tribe could be so dumb? Food-wise, your tribe is doing a fantastic job, loading up on both fish and chickens. Your tribe has the survival aspect down cold. What you donít have is the Survivor aspect figured out. Billy may have been a misfit, but that wasnít a reason to throw a challenge. Trust me, youíll have plenty of times to lose challenges unintentionally where you can cut tribe members if needed.
Ozzy: You know what you are doing out in the wild. However, you donít seem to have a clue about how to play Survivor. Yes, youíll be kept around because you know how to fish, get coconuts, and capture chickens, thus making camp life much better than most tribes in Survivor have ever had it. However, you threw away a tribe member and thus a vote that could have been useful in the future. Donít make that mistake again.
Cristina: You have problems. As the person closest to Billy, and one of the elders of your tribe, you are probably next on the chopping block. The trouble is there was not much you could have done to avoid it if J.P and Ozzy were going to throw the challenge. Youíll need to do your best to keep your tribe away from Tribal Council until there is a shuffle. If there is one, you and Cecilia might be better off finding some new allies.
Cecilia: You probably need to develop a closer relationship with Ozzy and J.P. It was a mistake to throw the challenge, but you canít repair the past. You need to secure your position with the men because they are looking to be an unbreakable pair of buddies right now, and sacrificing Cristina is probably your only option if you return to Tribal Council.
J.P.: You, like Ozzy, have to take some responsibility for the poor decision to toss the challenge in order to get rid of Billy. However, Ozzy has made up for some of it by being an effective leader at camp because he knows how to live in the wild. Youíve done a good job of playing tag-team with him, but you should never get into the kind of arguments at Tribal Council like you did with Billy. Talking over him made you look bad, and wonít help you in the long run.
Billy: What went wrong? Well, you were a tribal misfit, and your tribe executed poor judgment when it came to strategic Survivor play when they elected to throw the challenge. Still, you knew you were a goner at Tribal Council, and provided one of the most surreal ones Iíve ever seen. Thank you for entertaining me!
Jeffrey Clinard has been writing about Survivor since the second series, and has published over 100 articles about the show and given advice to nearly 150 different Survivors on RealityNewsOnline. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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